So, You Think You Know Los Angeles? 

The Last Bookstore. COURTESY PHOTO
The Last Bookstore. COURTESY PHOTO

By Michele E. Buttelman 

Signal Staff Writer 

Anyone who has lived in Southern California for an extended period usually believes they know all the interesting places to visit and take vacating friends and family. 

However, Los Angeles has a large number of off-the-beaten-path sights to intrigue even the guest who thinks they’ve “seen it all.” 

The “Corporate Head” statute is located at 725 S. Figueroa 90017. PHOTO COURTESY ATLAS OBSCURA
The “Corporate Head” statute is located at 725 S. Figueroa 90017. PHOTO COURTESY ATLAS OBSCURA

Phantasma Gloria 

648 Lemoyne St 90026 

Randlett King Lawrence is by trade a set and prop builder who has worked on numerous Hollywood films including David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive” (2001) and “Child’s Play 2.” 

However, his neighbors in Echo Park know him as the man who built the “Phantasma Gloria,” the name he has given the massive installation of steel rebar and more than 1,000 colorful glass bottles that soars above the front of his home on Lemoyne Street. 

He welcomes locals and strangers from around the world to see his work, but encourages visitors to come at sunset to see the sun shine through the bottles. 

Lawrence has been building “Phantasma Gloria” for more than two decades. He has built and rebuilt the sculpture several times. 

As of 2023, “Phantasma Gloria” stands at about 30 feet tall and 90 feet long. And, it is easily visible from the street. 

To see “Phantasma Gloria” schedule a visit by sending a message to Randy King Lawrence on Instagram. See his Facebook page under the name Randyland. Type Randyland Los Angeles in the Facebook search field. 

Stone Gates of Hollywoodland 

2695 N. Beachwood Drive, Los Angeles 90068 

If you know anything about the iconic Hollywood Sign you know it started life as a real estate advertisement to lure buyers to a tract of homes, Hollywoodland, to be built in Hollywood. 

The real Hollywoodland still exists, after a fashion, and these stone gates stand as a testament to that Los Angeles subdivision. 

The gates, built in 1923, still stand at the entrance of the 500-acre upscale “Hollywoodland” real estate development. 

The French Norman-styled towers were designed by architect John DeLario, who also designed several homes in the neighborhood. 

The stonework was constructed by Italian immigrant masons. 

The original intention was to have armed guards stand watch at the gates, but that never happened. 

The western half of the gate has a belfry which is closed to visitors, a non-functioning chimney, a heavy, locked oak door, a working gilded clock face and a bronze plaque from 1923 welcoming visitors to “Hollywoodland.” Other notable details include the wrought iron-barred windows and stone planters detailed with goat heads. 

In 1963 the gates were declared Historic Cultural Monument No. 20 by the Cultural Heritage Board, Municipal Arts Department, city of Los Angeles. 

Ennis House 

2607 Glendower Ave. 90027 

The weirdness that is the Ennis House has proved to be the perfect face for a variety of Hollywood projects. 

The exterior and interior of the house have been used in multiple film and TV productions. In 1959 the exterior was featured in the spooky “House on Haunted Hill” starring Vincent Price. The 1975 production of “Day of the Locust” also used the location as a private residence. The house became legendary as the inspiration for the apartment of Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) in Ridley Scott’s 1982 film “Blade Runner. 

The exterior was also featured in the TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” as the home of Angelus, Spike and Drusilla. 

The Ennis House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built by his son, Lloyd, is the last and largest of the elder Wright’s four “textile block” houses done in Mayan Revival style in the Los Angeles area. 

The Ennis House was designed for Charles and Mable Ennis in 1923 and completed in 1924. It is located on a highly visible lot in the Los Feliz hills. 

The house was designated as a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument in 1976. It is a private residence rarely open to the public, but can be seen from the street. 


Garden of Oz 

3040 Ledgewood Dr. 90068 

Hollywood resident Gail Cottman purchased a small plot of land directly beneath her Hollywood Hills house in 1991. Originally intended to house a patch of roses, Cottman’s flower garden soon grew into the Garden of Oz. 

Cottman’s contractor, Manuel Rodriguez, placed her roses in a bed of concrete that he decorated with tiles and beads. 

Cottman reportedly said it reminded her of Munchkinland in the “The Wizard of Oz.” 

She decided to expand on that theme and now the yellow-tiled path twisting through the Garden of Oz forms the “Yellow Brick Road” which also includes a landscape of thousands of shining tiles and an assortment of “throne” sculptures. The Garden of Oz also features a crystal ball, the “Wall of Toys” and a mailbox where you can send a letter directly to Oz. The project features hundreds of plants, tiled staircases and towering mosaics. 

In June 2011 this folk art ensemble was designated Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument, No. 996. 

The garden is only open to the public 10 a.m. to noon on Thursdays (if the gardener shows up), but can easily be viewed from the street. 

The Last Bookstore 

453 S. Spring St. 90013 

The Last Bookstore is an iconic Los Angeles bookstore in downtown Los Angeles housed in the grand atrium of what was once a bank. 

The marble pillars and mile-high ceiling of the 100-year-old former bank remain, now home to bookshelves that line the walls and displays of artful whimsy. 

It is the largest new and used bookstore in California and encompasses 22,000 sq. feet with a record store, comic book store, five art studios, an epic yarn shop, a famous book tunnel and unexpected nooks of wonder.

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